How the Web was Won

It’s 2020, my flying car is charging outside, and I’m typing this post using my Arco Telekinetic Knowledge Transcription Helmet. After the decades of intellectual warfare that raged between Open Web Activists and the Champions of Capitalism, the OWA have been successful in the implementation of legislation proclaiming the Open Web as an officially protected public resource. Within the next two weeks all browsers will be required to conform to open standards, all web based software companies wishing to distribute in the Open Web will be required to make their code available to collaborative coding depositories, and all Open Web software will be required to have an open license for distribution.

Proprietary online software companies are spinning. The knowledge that they will have to open their code bases to the public at large has come as quite a shock, particularly because of the millions they’ve spent on lobbyists and backdoor deals to protect trade secrets, control bandwidth, and regulate content access. Should these companies choose to stay in the Historic Web, they will fall into obscurity as it has been shown that 98% of the public is active only in the Open Web.

In the last decade of the previous century, a creative digital culture was born. Self-proclaimed technophiles began creating and curating content on the World Wide Web. The community began sharing information and code. They began collectively developing innovative software and projects. And they quickly realized that the Open Web was in danger. A series of like-minded companies joined forces to inform the public of the value and importance of the World Wide Web as it was known at that time, free and open. However, those companies had a whale of a fight as more traditionally minded companies fought to keep trade secrets and influence mass consumerism.

The prehistory of the Open Web Movement has been taught in schools since 2013, after several well-known foundations formed a massive conglomerate to inspire change in educational policies worldwide. Since 2013 “The History of Technology”, “HTML/CSS/JS”, “Online Safety and Security”, and “New Media Skills” have been required topics for students aged 6 and up. Starting with basic digital literacy and moving into cyber-citizenship, the coursework for these topics is, as you know, constantly being improved and updated.

2013 was also the year that a monumental white paper detailing the possibility of building an Open Cloud using distributed peer to peer computing was submitted to the Mozilla Foundation. This paper insisted that limitless data storage and computing power could be harnessed through a distributed network. The implementation was as simple as creating a cloud runtime demon that users could run in the background to donate 1% or more of their PC computational power to the network.

Mozilla funded the research and project. In 2015 came the beta creation of this cloud runtime. Along with the beta of Open Cloud, Mozilla used it’s position in the global marketplace to create awareness for the project. In 2016 the Open Cloud entered the mature state that we are still using today. In late 2016 the Open Cloud Transfer Protocol (OCTP) became W3C standard.

The web makers reveled in the new existence of a free and open platform for creation. With the elimination of hosting fees, government controlled hosters, server size, and bandwidth restrictions, the people creating content on the web realigned their allegiances to the Open Cloud.

Governments recognized the value of the Open Cloud and began contributing to it with more powerful data centers. In 2017, all industrialized nations were contributing significant funding and resources to the proliferation of an Open Cloud. However, the proponents of the Controlled Clouds spent a vast majority of their profit margins arguing that a Controlled Cloud is safer than an Open Cloud. They argued that an Open Cloud would become a haven for terror and piracy. In the years between 2017 and today, an intense legal battle between the major proprietary tech companies and the Open Web Activists has been tying up courts around the world.

In 2019, the OWA won the first legal battle in Canada. The Canadian courts ruled that closed systems stemmed innovation and hurt the national economy. They ruled that the Historic Web would be permanently replaced by the Open Web and that the Open Web would be a protected public resource. Other countries began to follow suit. It is today, November 18, 2020 that the last monolithic economy, the United States of America, has signed the legislation into law.

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  2 comments for “How the Web was Won

  1. November 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Interesting piece. I ‘think you got the first verb wrong.
    “I’m _typing_ this post using…”. “typing” is so 20th century! You’re probably “thinking down” this post, didn’t you?

    At in Berlin last week, Mitchell Baker mentioned that a question that will soon arise at Mozilla is whether or not Mozilla should have its own cloud to store users data.
    This would probably be a first step before 2013.

    Other than that, I find you a bit optimistic on the dates, but agrees on the overall vision besides the “open dictatorship”. I think that instead of being imposed, it will be a natural evolution.

    On the evolution of open source and companies approach to open source, read the excellent piece by Mikeal Rogers:

  2. January 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Oh, goodness, no. I am a big supporter of the Open Web, but the idea that people would be forced to do things that way by government constraint is a terrible one. People should choose the open web because it’s better, not because they will be sued, fined or locked up if they want to do something different.

    Also, your dig at capitalism is wildly inaccurate. The web as we know it today has been 90+% built by private investors taking risks with their capital. If governments had built the web, it would not be anything like how it is now. The web and capitalism (rightly defined) are not opposed.

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